It's On! Ubuntu and Microsoft Going to the Mat

khess 0 Tallied Votes 643 Views Share

Ubuntu's CEO, Mark Shuttleworth fired one over Microsoft's bow with a statement that the soon to be released Ubuntu 9.10 is ready to go head-to-head with Windows 7 on Netbooks. He also said that Windows XP is still hanging around on some Netbooks as a "ghost." Shuttleworth wants another shot at the U.S. market with his new Ubuntu 9.10 and Ubuntu One offering. Ubuntu One is a file backup and sharing service where registered users receive 2GB of free storage and 50GB of storage for $10 per month.

I hope that works out for you Mark. I really do. Ubuntu is the ultimate Linux distribution built upon the best parent distribution (Debian) available today.

There's just one small catch: Not everything works yet.

That's actually a pretty big catch.

Windows has the best driver and application support. It also has the advantage of having the favorite corporate Kool-Aid taste. In other words, big companies like Windows because it's created and supported by one of the world's best companies: Microsoft. I know what you're thinking: "He's a traitor" or "He's being paid by Microsoft." I wish it were true that someone was paying me some big buckazoids to say these things but they aren't.

I love Linux. It's my favorite operating system. I use it and support it every single day of my life--and have for the past 14+ years. I have a full system dedicated to it and at least virtual machines running Linux various flavors. It has shortcomings for a user interface (formerly known as a Desktop) computer.

Linux is the best server operating system currently available. No question about it. On the user side, well, that's another story. Though I'm a big user of all Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, CentOS), I use it almost exclusively as a server operating system.

At one time, I used Linux as my primary desktop but I just can't do that any more and haven't for a long time. The reason? Mostly it's about ease of use and compatibility. Sure, I could use and remember to Save As all the time for everyone who uses MS products, I could forfeit my QuickBooks, I could use web-based apps for everything and I could just play Delta Force any more too. That last one would certainly make my wife happy. But I don't want to have to go to a lot of trouble just to use a computer.

I'm afraid Mr. Shuttleworth has his work cut out for him when trying to compete with Microsoft for user attention. It isn't likely to happen any time soon. There are too many issues and problems surrounding the use of Linux for a user's computer. One is peripherals and gadgets like phones, iTunes, printers and Netbooks.

Netbooks? Hey, that's what started this whole post. What's wrong with Ubuntu and Netbooks? Probably nothing, but for Mark Shuttleworth to assume Ubuntu 9.10 is going to compete favorably with Windows 7 on Netbooks, he must have something up his sleeve. I hope it's more than just a little magic or marketing hype because I've seen Windows 7 and it's good. Really good. I've also seen Ubuntu 9.10 and it's good too. Really good.

It should be an interesting showdown when both have had a chance to be Netbook-proven.

What do you think about the best operating system for Netbooks? Is Windows XP a ghost? Is Windows 7 all it's cracked up to be? Will Ubuntu 9.10 break in to the Netbook market in a big way?

rilo 0 Newbie Poster

In my opinion Windows 7 is more hype than a great OS. It does its job OK but it still gets in your way and it still has issues. I have crashes and all hardware is working just fine, so too are the drivers. It is inconsistent in its load time and all in all it is only just better than Vista. As to minimum specifications to load it on, the MS listed ones are a joke. You still need a quick processor and some decent RAM to get some decent performance. Whilst Ubuntu 9.10 runs on the same hardware without a single problem. If people can stay with XP they should or I think they will regret the

Teddy_Bear 0 Newbie Poster

I'm not surprised at your rant about the linux desktop. I know of countless Unix/Linux admins that feel the same way as you do. Frankly, administrators live under a rock called the terminal, console or commonly known as the 'command line' and I'm sure you're familiar with it ;-)
Until you start working on the desktop, using gui tools that joe average uses everyday, you will not realise how easy Linux makes it for the user to interact with the underlying hardware etc.
As for driver support, its better than Windows. I am yet to install Linux on a laptop/desktop where I had to hunt for drivers. This is old hat and don't propagate it. In fact, its on the server end that drivers are an issue! How do I know? We've had issues on our company Linux servers where this is glaringly obvious!
Also, how many times have you installed Windows and found you have to get an obscure ethernet driver downloaded from a website? I see that happening practically everyday.
Enough already with such articles -- written by people who are locked up in server rooms and when they exit, all they see is the Windows desktop.

Kabob 0 Newbie Poster

I am very impressed with Windows 7, but I still prefer Ubuntu, especially on an underpowered netbook. Unfortunately the advantages of Linux are ones that the average users just don't care about, even when they do not use any applications that require Windows. I have been amazed at the levels of mediocrity people will accept when it comes to performance and security as long as they don't have to venture into unfamiliar territory, or do something other than what the tv tells them to.

Yes, some things still cause me more trouble than they would in windows, but the amount of trouble I save severely outweighs them, and Ubuntu improves at an amazing rate. Therefore I applaud Mr. Shuttleworth's enthusiasm. He will need it for the uphill battle.

As for XP, I will always have fond memories of it as old reliable, but it's time for it to rest in peace already. Microsoft kept it alive on netbooks because they had no choice, lest Linux gain serious ground on them. Although the Linux versions we initially saw on netbooks were horrendous. With Windows 7, Ubuntu, and Moblin the real netbook battle begins. I'll bring the popcorn.

EdenMar 0 Newbie Poster

At one time, I used Linux as my primary desktop but I just can't do that any more ...

The Linux Desktop? Does GNU/Linux display its own Desktop?

Is the author speaking of Gnome, KDE, etc.? I can't make sense of the statment. Does he find all GNU/Linux GUI's equally poor, or does the word Desktop, in this context, refer to something else?

khess 95 Practically a Master Poster

I should have been more clear. I used SUSE and KDE with VMware to run a Windows 98 and a Windows NT VM. The computer had KOffice and was my primary workstation. Eventually, I had to reimage it with Windows and use VMware for Linux. That was 10 years ago.

bubbalouie 0 Newbie Poster

So the last time you actually ran with a Linux desktop was a decade ago? Is that what I just read?

Yet, you just disparaged the GNU/Linux desktop, didn't you?

psquiddy 0 Newbie Poster

Wow, that's a long time to not use the Linux Desktop on a regular basis. On the other hand, I've used the Linux Desktop (GNOME in my case) all this time and I've seen it go through better and worse. And right now, Ubuntu Linux 9.10 looks WAY better than anything I've come across yet. I see no problem getting this to fly on netbooks. In fact, I've got it on a USB that I've booted several netbooks with already -- and after they downloaded the appropriate WiFi driver, they were 100% functional. Let's see Windows 7 compete with that. First, find a USB stick it'll fit on...

Windows 7 Install time: up to 7 hours (by Bob Cringely's report). And then you need antivirus stat! And THEN you can install your apps.
Ubuntu Install time: 25 minutes, including partitioning. And lots of apps.

khess 95 Practically a Master Poster

That's the last time I ran a Linux desktop as my primary desktop operating system. I have a dual boot Netbook with XP and Presto Linux plus I have several Linux VMs.

khess 95 Practically a Master Poster

I don't know who Bob Cringley is but if it took him 7 hours to install Windows 7, he needs to find a different profession or get better hardware. Ubuntu installs quickly I said, once I see Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 side by side in a month or two, it'll be easier to judge.

deadjournalism 0 Newbie Poster

Ken, your post wreaks of wilful ignorance.

"I could use and remember to Save As all the time for everyone who uses MS products"

You're kidding right? Surely someone of your professed knowledge of Linux is completely aware that you can change OpenOffice to save in Microsoft formats by default with the click of a mouse?

Surely, you're aware that Delta Force has a platinum rating with wine? I'm assuming that you're aware that this game runs flawlessly on Linux? As a self-professed expert (refer to paragraph 6), I'm sure you're aware that double clicking on the install exe for your game in Ubuntu 9.10 will prompt you to install wine and then start the installation process for you? You've, you know, looked into it, right? Journalism? I've been running Delta Force since 2007 without a hitch.

I'm getting the feeling that you haven't really given any of this a go, have you? No lies now, lets be honest.

I find it annoying that you're using these examples as an attempt to support your argument, but you just haven't done a lick of research on it. You simply cannot use examples that completely contradict your argument. You're getting really slack Ken.

I remember first getting into the whole Linux thing years ago and reading your articles Ken. It really feels like you've given up the ghost.

khakilang -3 Posting Pro in Training

I been with Microsoft for almost 20 years now from DOS to now Windows and the product keep improving. But sadly everytime there is a new software you need to upgrade the hardware just to take advantage of some features you may not need. Not an advantage for people on a tight budget.

Security has not been improve since Window 98. Virus, spyware, malware etc. can find their way into Window system. Stability is also an issue since Window 98. Remember "Illegal Operation" on Window 98 and the blue screen of death on Window XP?

On the other hand I can run Linux on older machine and do most of my work. Until I feel a need to upgrade my hardware. Just imagine how many computers are save from disposing to the dump site which is destroying our environment. It is safe so far no virus of sort and its stable. Of course no software is perfect but I will put my money on Linux anytime.

khess 95 Practically a Master Poster


My versions of Delta Force are old. I run Delta Force 2 (1999) and the last time I tried (2007) when WINE was still in its 10 year beta cycle, it didn't work* like I wanted. I was using CentOS at the time. I haven't tried it on Ubuntu as you did, so maybe it would work. Yes, I know about OO.o's compatibility with MS Office. I'll have to go back and look at how I called myself an expert. What I have found is that there are lots of experts but few with any expertise.
My problem, for the past couple of years or so, is that I don't have time to tinker endlessly with something.
My yardstick is that if I can get Program A running within a couple of hours with moderate tinkering, dependency satisfaction and updating; the product gets a thumbs up. If it takes longer than that, then it's too difficult for Joe User and will not get a good review from me.
I'm not getting slack, I just don't have a lot of patience for things that don't work.

Here's the other thing: Who says Linux is supposed to be good for everything? It's a great server operating system, extremely stable, reliable, long uptimes and relatively low maintenance but OTOH, user-oriented Linux can be quite tricky and frustrating.
I could manage to get just about anything working that I want to get working but I'm not writing for me, I'm writing for other people and my readers, you included, need to know that Linux has its shortcomings and I won't pull any punches on that.
What you'll get here is honest, personal experiences with Linux--not just research that's been compiled into a lifeless article. That's why my readers keep coming back.

*BTW, DF2 installed fine with WINE, but the problem was my video that I could never fix. When I would move, the screen was slow to update and I just couldn't live with that. What I'm talking about is when you're playing and there's 'lag' -- it was like that only worse. Very choppy and 'swimmy'. I updated video drivers, tweaked them, messed with every setting possible, read forums and still no love for DF2. I have a family, a job and not much patience for multi-day, and often fruitless, troubleshooting ventures.

Member Avatar for dandart

Ubuntu has the best hardware support I've ever seen.
It beats windows hands down!
Let's make this a clean fight.
Ubuntu has and will get one over on microsoft

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